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March 18th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Washington to blame for AIG bonus scandal?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As outrage over AIG bonuses reaches a fever pitch, many are now wondering why our leaders in Washington didn't do more to prevent the situation in the first place. The Obama administration says that it didn't know until a couple of weeks ago that AIG executives were set to receive $165 million in bonuses.

Cafferty: Why didn’t our leaders in D.C. do more to prevent this situation?

They say that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner found out last Tuesday; and the president learned of all this on Thursday, just a day before the controversial retention payments went through. But Geithner was running the New York Federal Reserve Bank last fall when AIG got a high-interest loan of 85 billion dollars to help prevent collapse - along with its first installment of federal bailout money.

And none of these folks must watch CNN because in late January, Mary Snow did a story on this very program about the insurance giant paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to its financial products unit.

And then there's Congress... When some lawmakers tried to prevent bonuses in the stimulus bill last month they actually made an exception for pre-existing contracts. Democrat Chris Dodd - who proposed the executive compensation provision - insists that he did not include that exemption clause. He says he doesn't know how it got there; as do several other Democratic sources.

Dodd and then candidate-Barack Obama were the top recipients of AIG political contributions in 2008 - each getting more than $100,000.

And there's more... The Senate had passed a bipartisan amendment that would have taxed bonuses on any company getting federal bailout money if the company didn't pay back the bonus money to the government; but that was stripped from the stimulus bill during closed-door meetings. This is bordering on insanity.

Here’s my question to you: How much is Washington to blame for the AIG bonus scandal?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Mark from Wisconsin writes:
Jack, Washington is yet again proving how inept it is. The speed with which the bailouts occurred meant that not enough attention was paid to the fine details. There are no good guys here, Obama included. And Geithner? My God, could we have been given a more ineffectual person? Obama, for all of his intelligence, has made very bad decisions regarding cabinet and advisor choices all around... Obama didn't create this mess (as he is quite fond of saying), but his inexperience is showing.

Armando writes:
Of course Washington is responsible! Someone in Congress filtered in the clause, which would allow for bonuses to AIG executives to be paid. We, the people, need to know who that lawmaker was! Please, help us.

John from Louisiana writes:
Two words we're not hearing: Paulson and Bush. Why is everyone blaming Washington, Congress and Timothy Geithner (who's only been in office for 60 days)? Bush’s Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, started it all, Jack. Paulson was given the TARP to use to buy up toxic mortgages. Instead he gave it away (including $180 billion to AIG) with no strings attached.

Noah from Sumter, South Carolina writes:
Asking, "How much is Washington to blame for the AIG bonus scandal?" is like asking "How much is McDonald’s to blame for the overwhelming obesity rate in America?" AIG got fat, dumb and happy off of Washington’s bailout value meal and then lined their pockets with the leftovers. All the while, the American taxpayers are left homeless, jobless and hungry with a bleak future to look forward to. Both Washington and AIG need to cut the fat with a diet of ethics and moral fiber.


Filed under: Bailout • Washington
soundoff (205 Responses)
  1. MikeH

    All politicians are too narcissistic to care about the average American. The Republicans scream now, but were just as bad spenders and big business panderers when they had power.
    There is no change, no hope of change for Washington.
    Obama's too busy partying and giving campaign speeches to worry about the economy. His tax cheat Geitthner is too busy making sure his buddies on Wall Street make out like fat cats to even make a pretense out of knowing how the bailout is being spent.
    Government should regulate the financial market strictly, then get out of the way and let the chips fall as they may.
    If any company is "too big to fail", then the gov't. is basically backing a monopoly of services by devoting tax money to help failing financial giants. Get rid of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, way too political. Let people get loans based on their ability to repay, not some guarantee that the gov't. will help EVERYONE get a house. Why do you think they have apartments and low-income housing?
    We have lost America to the politicians, we now live in bizarro-America where greed is good, and those without should steal from hard working Americans for gov't help they do not deserve.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  2. Jeff Crocket

    The Congress has oversight over all government agencies and the nation. They are elected to do the right thing but it is Congress who has not and is not doing its job for three years now!!

    Send Dodd even put in words to allow the AIG bonuses to go forward and now denies it! They are to busy sucking money for these same people!

    Jeff Crocket
    New Britain, Ct

    March 18, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  3. Mike S., New Orleans

    The language on bonuses was probably stripped from the stimulus package because of contracts that were already signed and in force. There's no government scandal here, but it will sure keep Rush Limbaugh happy for another week or two.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  4. Debby

    I don't blame all of Washington, just people like Dodd, and Frank who are the big contributors for this banking mess.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  5. Jeff Crocket

    So!! What about the "Oversight" Congress??
    The leaders came out for the photo op the other day to praise their decision to stop a salary increase for themselves this year. But, Congress also added 90,000 dollars to their own expense accounts this year! What’s the difference?? 50,000,000 for their own bonus pay!

    Our Congress is so out of control, and so condescending in their conversation, it is insane to imagine anyone voting for any of these criminals again!!

    Jeff Crocket
    New Britain, CT

    March 18, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  6. Robert A.

    I think Obama should admit his mistake in propping up AIG with taxpayer money. When you have a diseased tree, you don't adorn it with silk blossoms; you just cut it down and be done with it. Robert A., Austin, Texas

    March 18, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  7. Dominick of Florida

    Hello, I am a born and raised US citizen for over 51 years and I just wanted to applauded CNN with there coverage on CNN live Stream, as I have just witnessed our democracy in action against AIG and was compelled to continue viewing this very disturbing event that was to be maybe the final nail in a long awaited coffin of AIG, I was very proud of our Senators today that has proven to me that this great country of ours can not and will not be taken advantage of by company what think they have a strong-hold on the American public. The American people should know a lot more about our interest in these large companies especially if we are 80% investors. Thank you all for proven to me once again even in tuff times that we still are a strong and concerned country. Dominick Gerard

    March 18, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  8. Ted - Ohio

    Trying to blame Obama for a contract that has existed for years makes no sense. It's good fodder for the press because they are looking for the first REAL Obama stumble. This is not it. These were performance bonuses Jack but retention bonuses, which means they are not linked to performance at all. That's the way the industry has operated for more than 10 years. That's got be corrected going forward, but trying to say Obama is responsible for a decade long practice is stretching it.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  9. Matt Lord

    Hey Jack, Matt from SW GA, The govt is totally responsible for this mess. What happened to the transperancy the new administration promissed? We need a clean sweep in congress, Republican and democrats. I watched the grilling of Liddy and the majority of the congressmen present didn't listen to what Liddy said, they were to buisy grandstanding. Lets find out wich one of them wrote the loophole into "stimulas package".

    March 18, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  10. Anna, MI

    Unfortunately Jack,

    Washington should be blamed a lot. This is standard procedures for the Bush Administration, and God knows we were numb from George Bush's financial roller-coaster rides, but not President Obama. We expect more, and deservedly so. His administration is the administration of change, and the cowards of AIG knew that. When Geithner comes out and parrots the greedy Wall Street mantra, we worry. Not this administration, not this president and not this new and changed America.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  11. Rose in Az

    Congress is to blame big time, how on earth did this get in the bill. Everyone wants to play the blame game but someone sure put it in there and they need to find out who and why. If the Dems had taken the time to read this completely instead of rushing it though this may not have happened in the first place. Congress needs an over haul!!!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  12. Tony in IL

    Jack, Congress knew about the bonuses, Obama Administration knew about it as well, but both say they just found out about it. Yet Ali Velshi reported last night on AC360 that CNN reported about this back in December. So, congress and the Obama administration lied about when they knew about this. They need to quit lying to the American taxpayers/voters. Yes, I voted for Obama and if AIG doesn't get fixed, don't look for a second term for Obama.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  13. nancy from Cape Girardeau, MO

    Everyone who voted "YES" to the stimulus bill is to be blame... evidently all those lawers did not even read the bill they were voting on. I work for the federal government and deal with federal payments and contracts... if I signed my name to a contract or an application for payment to a contractor/vemdor without reviewing the documents and make double sure everything is in order, I would be fired! So American Voters... lets vote out every Senator and US Rep in your district... Lets FIRE them all!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  14. Mike

    I just read an AP article that says the following "Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., won passage of a provision earlier this year that they said would have prevented the type of payments now at the center of a storm. It was dropped without explanation in the final compromise on the economic stimulus measure, replaced by a less restrictive set of conditions backed by Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and accepted by the White House. " if this is true then the democrats in power are to blame

    March 18, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  15. John, Fort Collins, CO

    The AIG initial meltdown and follow-on bonus scandal were caused by pure Wall Street greed, but our Congress, a bunch of inept, self serving, glad handers, allowed it to happen. We all have an obligation to take advantage of the next elections to vote the jerks responsible out of office. We deserve what we tolerate.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  16. Chris Udoni

    This is totally the governments fault. They had the chance in the stimulus bill to correct the bonus problem, but didn't. I can't see how Obama can say he's mad about this unless he really didn't know anything about it. If that's the case then who's driving the car? Nancy Pelosi? This really smells bad when you consider that Chris Dodd and Obama were the two largest recievers of donations from AIG!!!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  17. Brian

    Jack, why is there such a fuss about the $165 million bonuses paid out? what if CNN reported the BILLIONS that AIG sent overseas to bail out foreign banks? I think Washington is full of lazy people who do not have a clue as to what is going on, let alone how to fix it, if I made a mistake greater than a few hundred $'s I believe I would lose my job, these so called leaders of our country need to be scrutinized by the public and ousted, I thought "CHANGE" was the word we were promised with this administration, maybe they were refering to what every hard working american will have left in their pocket after they get through with us?

    March 18, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  18. Mickie

    It's not just Washington, but yes they share part of the blame. It's the "get mine first" attitude of our time, lack of community and apathy of the voters as long as they're not hurting. Most of the voters don't even know how their representatives voted on an issue, or even if they were there to vote. But it's not just Washington politicians, it's government at all levels. Lool at Vince Fumo in PA stealing millions while pretending to set up charitable foundations. Look at the loopholes in the laws of Ohio that allow the rich to get food stamps when many who have no place to call home can't get them. I'm 65 and, as much as I hate to say it, I believe it will take a revolution before getting back to values. As Jefferson said, it takes a revolution every 20 years for a democracy (or something to that effect). We are way overdue.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  19. Chris from Buffalo, NY

    I would estimate that 101% of the blame should be placed on the politicians in Washington, but keep in mind that my estimation contains a 1% margin of error.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  20. Adam Preiwisch

    100%

    March 18, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  21. John in Simi Valley, CA

    Washington is responsible.

    Mr. Liddy testified a number of times that the Fed. was either in meetings or given reports on what was going on regarding the bonuses. They did not forward that information on to other brahcnes of the government. That sounds to me like another breakdown in communication within our government.
    After the way some of the senators treated Mr. Liddy today, I think he should just quit. He does not deserve what he has had to put up with.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  22. Karen - Missouri

    Let's not take the heat off AIG by distracting us to Washington. AIG committed fraud to the stockholders, the government, to us. I am so sick of everyone just pointing fingers. Everyone shut up and just get the problem solved.

    AIG CEOs are greedy and should have had a good business model if they were "too big to fail". It is AIG'S FAULT ALONE!!!! The whole world should not have to be policeman to every corporation that's ignorant.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  23. judith juselius, Pittsburgh,pa.

    I think that when you loan millions like Washington has, they have the right to say what the money can and cannot be used for. End of conversation. If guidelines are in place and the company has not abided by the guidelines then they need to be accountable and suffer the consequences. It is kindergarten ethics 101. You do something bad and the is a consequence!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  24. Gregory Daulton

    Jack,

    Follow the money as usual. Follow the campaign contributions and you'll find the root cause of all of this; corruption in government.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  25. heath

    They are responsible for all of it. They were asleep at the wheel.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  26. Ken

    Washington was asleep at the watch again,but if the tax payers are now 80% owner of AIG why are we paying those jerks that caused this whole mess a cent. Anyone or any company that owns 80% of anything has controling interest. Sounds like another no brainer that no one can figure out again. Ken, Greensburg, Pa.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  27. Tanya, Princeton, NJ

    Washing pushed the stimulus bill through Congress too fast. This is the result of poor judgement and lack of knowledge.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  28. john Battiloro

    Jack,

    I don't think the Government is responsible or complicit at all. When the ship is sinking you have to grasp air as much as you can before you drown..Greedy American business people will continue to do this because it's all about them!

    John
    White Plains

    March 18, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  29. Gary Anderson

    100 percent responsible. Now maybe they will start reading all the stuff they sign.
    Des Moines, Iowa

    March 18, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  30. Carson McDonald

    Well this is the first noticeable effect of the stimulus, and the Democrats are crying innocence? They should be ashamed and claim responsibility. The spin doctors are hard at work this week.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  31. Ken in NC

    I would say it appears that no one has changed the locks on the door to the “Back Room” in Washington. PAR for Washington is that no one accepts responsibility for anything until it works. Then everyone contributed.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  32. Darrell Wayne - San Francisco

    Jack, Washington is to blame 100%. As I support Obama for President, he is ultimately to blame, he is at the helm. Which one these idiots in Congress did not catch the oversight in the bill as far as bonuses are concerned? Treasure Sec, Geithner and Sen. Dodd should somehow be removed from their positions. Now we see why Washington cannot be trusted. Congress should take no pay for the remainder of their term to compensate for this latest blunder!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  33. Paul DiBara

    One hand washes the other. In the past we've been warned to beware of the military industrial complex. Today, we need to beware of the political-Wall St financial complex.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  34. Janet

    I would say the government is 100% responsible - for not setting conditions for the loan of our money. Congress is primarily composed of attorneys who should know enough to set the parameters in a contract BEFORE THE FACT, NOT AFTER.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  35. Kate from Nashville

    Jack,
    What we need is a TOTAL RECALL of every congressman and senator in Washington. Silly us. We think we can return these same bozos year and year and expect different results. It doesn't matter who we elect in the top position, the problem is the buffoons in congress.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  36. Dustin

    Both Washington and AIG are to blame. AIG should not pay the bonuses because they company is in red. Bonus means a sum of money granted or given to an employee, a returned soldier, etc., in addition to regular pay, usually in appreciation for work done, length of service, accumulated favors, etc., the contracts normally dont state that they will give bonuses, its all on how good your work is, since they had to take billions in tax payer money, they didn't do their job correctly. If I worked for a company that went under, I wouldn't get a bonus or extra money, so why should they?

    March 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  37. Annie Naples FL

    Washington is entirely to blame for his mess. Their outrage is laughable. Who gives billions of dollars to corporate entities without any oversight or controls? Washington that's who. And now they are questioning where this money went? Unbelievable chutzpah from these clowns.

    As for the missing person who took out the bonus clause? Send Jack Bauer....he will find out in no time flat.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  38. Alex

    Jack,

    Asking if Washington is to blame is like asking if the sky is blue.

    Alex in Nashville

    March 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  39. Arnie Manlius

    Congress should get 100% of the credit. They designed the rules of the game, and they were the referees. Let's give credit where credit is due.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  40. Jay in Texas

    The Congress and President Obama are half to blame for the AIG bonus scandal. If they had not bailed out all of these super-rich crooks, there would be no scandal. The American people, who voted for incumbent congressmen, senators, and for Obama last November get the other half of the blame.
    Brownwood, Texas

    March 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  41. Richard Harris

    100%

    March 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  42. Justin

    Jack,
    246 House Members, 60 Senate Members and our President. They failed to read and study the stimlus bill that passed. They all let us down.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  43. Andie

    Who is to be blamed for? The pig who makes the mess, or the one who scratches it's back???
    This was my Italian grandma saying....

    March 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  44. Joe of NJ

    Jack,
    Are we talking about the Washington that is the satillite division of AIG? Nuff said.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  45. Guy, NYC

    With all the change we were promised this saddens me to see the facts surrounding these bonuses. The mysterious clauses in bills and omissions; if Washington for once thought less of their own "bonuses" from AIG and others maybe they actually could've saved the American taxpayers 165 million. It may not seem like a lot to them collectively but to the middle and lower class it can feed many mouths and keep many family in their homes.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  46. Kevin Ashpole

    Jack – Very surprised by your outrage. You gained some (a little) respect from me. Of course Washington is to blame.Chris Dodd is a crook.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  47. Larry -- Belton TX

    Washington is as much to blame for AIG's problems as George Bush is to blame for invading the wrong country. Just another failure that proves those 8 Bush years will still be costing us 80 yrs from now.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  48. Sly, Alpena, Mi

    Everyone in Washington is to blame, even the President of the United States, How can Obama sign a bill without even reading it?, and he too along with the rest of the "Incompetents down there in Washington are all Lawyers. What a joke.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  49. Ron Ouellette

    Jack,
    Do you think that politicians in Washington are blameless in this??
    I don't think so, you are too savvy and experienced and so are many
    of we old geezers out here. Remember the saying "if it sounds too
    good, it probably isn't" The clowns in Congress on BOTH sides of
    the aisle had BETTER SMARTEN UP and REALIZE that WE, the
    People are on to them and if they want to keep their seats they had
    BETTER get with the Program and do their jobs and REPRESENT
    US rather than Corporate America, I just love this!!!!!!!!!!!
    Ron – Florida

    March 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  50. Goalie

    100%. If Congress had been doing their job we wouldn't be here. They are supposed to be looking out for us,,,Ha! A bunch of career monday morning quarterbacks. They are not and have not been doing their job.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  51. Elizabeth

    You know, Jack, I'm a tad bit annoyed with the media and my fellow Americans. We seem to have forgotten that the sub-prime mortages are to blame for a majority of the problems we are having and though AIG and the BANKS can take much of the blame, why aren't Americans angry with their fellow Americans who knowingly bought homes that they in no stretch of the imagination could afford! Why don't we blast them? Why do Americans have this Victim mentality and never blame themselves for ANYTHING that happens in their lives? The President is right we all need to start being accountable!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  52. Marie

    The Washington Dems who are bashing Edward Liddy need not cast so many stones. They only need to look in the mirror. Edward Liddy came out of retirement to help AIG last Oct/Nov for an annual salary of $1. How many Washington yoyo's would take an annual salary of $1? Exactly, none of them. I blame congress and the Treasury for this mess. This is why they should not sign a bill without having read it first. Do you think they have learned their lesson? I don't think so!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  53. Brian Baker

    After watching the fiasco on CNN today, I am more convinced that the Obama administration is out of touch with the situation at hand and spend too much time protecting Timothy Geitner. Whether the bonuses were right or wrong it is clear that this Congress doen't deal with reality in their decision making process. Knee jerk politics like passing a bill that would tax the bonuses will only hurt the entire country. This or any Congress needs to pay attention to the Constitution and remember why there was a Boston Tea Party.
    I am Not Supporting the Bonuses, Just wanting to protect America from a Renagade Congress thhat ignores their responsibilities to the United States and the American People.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  54. dan in Tucson

    Jack,
    Washington is TOTALLY to blame because they mismanaged the terms of the bailout as much as AIG mismanaged their company. It is a proven fact that you cannot throw money in an endless pit without closing the hole first.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  55. LInda in Bisbee, Arizona

    86.7 percent.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  56. Jeff Ft Lauderdale Fla

    The government is definitely to blame. 500+ Lawyers trying to solve a financial crisis is a complete joke. I am not at all suprised by the AIG bonuses, heck if I were in AIG I'd have granted bonuses and taken one myself . As I've always said its Government Of By And For The Biggest Campaign Contributors (President Obama and Senator Dodd)
    Personally I'd prefer a couple of bankrupt big companies like AIG, GM, and Citibank with the ensuing financial issues than a bankrupt US government due to China stopping loans to us due to our debt.

    Personally I'd trust a High School Economics student to fix these problems more than our government.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  57. Phillip Ellenburg

    After listening to the testimony on capital hill today, it is the 100% the governments fault. If our Representatives did not use the "Chain of Command" to acquire the information necessary. Nor did they adequately lay out the "Chain of Command". They use it in the United States Military why was it not used here."

    March 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  58. Lou, Vancouver

    The government is not only responsible for the AIG scandal, it constructed it. Today's REAL headline story is the Fed's first round of an economic device called Quantitative Easing. They don't want the public to know what Quantitative Easing is so they distract with a scandal that they knew was coming months ago.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  59. Jeff - Richmond, VA

    Washington has plenty of culpability in this. Americans pay taxes to Washington to support agencies that are, in part, supposed to guard us against these types of abuses. We need competent people that are detail oriented enough to read the fine print and prevent this type of situation. I read technical and interpret technical specifications for my company, and if I overlook the details that cost my company significant losses, I'll be fired and without any bonus or severance. Washington is groggy and lazy when it comes to doing "real roll-up-the-sleeves work" , and corporate America with it's misplaced values and executive greed simply takes advantage of this. We saw it on display today.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  60. Mike McKibben, lady lake, Fl

    Find out who put the bonus clause in the Amendment to the Stimulus Bill (the one keeping bonuses effective up to Feb 2009), and many questions will be answered. I can only hope that this would result in even more questions being asked.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  61. Thomas

    If there is ever a scandal, Washington has had its hand in it. This is another of the many wake up calls for American citizens when dealing with the people they voted to put in office. Good help is so hard to find!

    Thomas Curtis
    Waldorf, MD

    March 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  62. Steve Nagle

    Jack

    The government is to blame for ALL of this, because when they handed them the cash NOT ONE congressman read the stipulations to this money. How could they have wiht such a quick decision? And this whole hearing thing is just a big political show. If the american people had decided on this, they would have never gotten the money in the first place. Remember last September when the taxpayers cried outrate to their representatives and they voted the bill down. That's how a democracy is supposed to work, and it did. Then, by political motivation, passed it anyway, against the taxpayers wishes.

    THIS WHOLE THING MAKES ME SICK AND GIVES ME NO CONFIDENCE WHATSOEVER IN OUR GOVERNMENT.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  63. Frank, Making a Living feeding my family from Afghanistan.

    100%---Congress gave them the money, without restrictrictions, in October and then gave them more money in February.

    In the Omnibus bill that ALL of Congress Voted on and the President Read and signed into LAW, the new rules allowed more waste.

    This is Buisness as Usual in Washington....my only reprieve is that I didn't vote with the current majority.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  64. Joe Haffner

    While I'm more than upset that Congress has not used proper checks and balances in regards to dolling out money to companies such as A-I-G, it's the American people who are truly at blame. As Americans, it's our responsibility to make sure our lawmakers are doing their job ethically. Hindsight is 20/20, but we should've pressed our leaders harder to make sure that the bailout money went to help customers of companies such as A-I-G, not bail out the executives of said companies.

    Joe Haffner,
    Kirksville, Missouri.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  65. AndyinPC

    This is all Washington's fault. For all the grandstanding, I have yet to see any representative admit that the legislature could have stopped it, but the necessary language was stripped out of the legislation.

    And if we're thowing a hissy fit about this, why aren't we looking into Feddie & Fannie. Both of them have massive amounts of bonuses, but I don't hear anything about it.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  66. Amarissa

    Well, Jack, this is what happens when we place rookies in the White House. This is why you, the media, are responsible to investigate everything these fools do in an unbiased way. I am very worried about the budget our President is rushing Congress to pass which will put us in an even bigger debt situation than we are in now! Voters placed this President and this Congress in power without realizing that we were facing one of the worst economical situations in our history and we needed experience in the White House, not "Hope" and "Yes we can" rhetoric!

    Miami, Florida

    March 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  67. Roger Zoeller

    Jack they are all guilty , From the President on down ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN! REMEMBER THAT ? OBAMA himself took $102,000 from AIG in 2008 in his campaign . SHAMEFULL !

    March 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  68. Greg Maryland

    Washington is totally to blame.They put it in writing allowing AIG to give the bonuses.Signed by congress and the president.Now they are outraged over it? I'm starting to miss President Bush.How scary is that?

    March 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  69. Susan From Twin Falls Idaho

    There is probably plenty of blame for government. Someone dropped the ball it sounds like whomever it was it going to be held responsible. Keep shedding light on these atrocities accountability is the only weapon we have to vote with intelligence.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  70. Kevin

    Jack, Washington is to blame as I am to blame for being overweight. But I will not waist anyones time with a useless Senate sub-commitee session that won't bring the CEO's to justice. This whole thing is just a media circus to falsely show the American people that Washington is doing something. These politicians watch CNN and knew what was going on a long time ago but looked the other way during the fund my campaign season. Besides Dodd and Obama, how many other campaigns took AIG money?

    Kevin
    Warren, MI

    March 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  71. PA Student

    Jack, this question was loaded to be answered one way. Is the previous congress to blame for not preventing Bonuses from bailed out companies.. YES! If the Obama administration or OUR new President himself... NO WAY! And now HE and Geithenr at attempting to fix it. CAN WE PLEASE SUPPORT OUR LEADER in this time of crisis!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  72. John in Seattle

    Of course they are. I was very impressed with Mr. Liddy's testimony today. He was far more open and honest than most of the grand standing clowns who were questioning him.

    When are Americans going to wise up? Stop trusting your elected officials. Republicans and Democrats are both a bunch of self serving weasels. They will not pass term limits upon themselves, so it is up to voters to throw the bums out at every opportunity. Stop being loyal to your political party, and start being loyal to your country.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  73. Tim Rooks

    Jack,
    With all of the talk about the bonuses, I amost for got about the ones who are really responsible for the failure within AIG. Where are they? I will not trust anyone until there is some accountability. This was fraud and they need to pay. Waiting in South Carolina

    March 18, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  74. Clair

    Washington are totally to blame for this emabarrassment. Yes – it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of tax paying americans to see AIG giving out these massive bonus' but the bigger issue is surely that it proves that washington handed over the bail out money without really having a clue what was going on with the company. It also proves that no one, including the president knew what was in the bill when it was passed.....GOOD ONE GUYS!! I feel bad for CEO Liddy. He handled the hearing very well and I thought he explained everything in a way that we can understand but i could also tell that most of the committee weren't listening to him because they kept asking the same questions over and over again. Also what good will it do to have names of the people who received bonus'....what is Bernie Frank planning on doing with these names?!?!?!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  75. Richard New Hampshire

    The Bush administration and the Congress initaited the AIG fiasco.Obama inherited the situation.It is now his problem.I was just watching Senator Dodd answer questioning on CNN.Everytime he said"No"his eyes turned away from the interviewer.Can we call that body language?
    Smoke and mirrors ,is just another day in Washington.How do we get government to understand the word integrity?

    March 18, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  76. John VanGorden

    The lobbyists got their money's worth. Most of the people in Congress are lawyers. Don't they read what they sign and vote for? It's no wonder that Congress has such a low approval rating. We need term limits and a ban on lobbyists.

    John
    Lady Lake, FL

    March 18, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  77. jo bongiorno

    Chris Dodd needs to write a check to repay the American people and RESIGN ASAP, taking Franks, Pelosi, Reid with him. As long as these phonies are running this country, any chance of recovery is a joke!!!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  78. Bill from WV

    I think the polliticians are more to blame than AIG. They have been muddling in their business for the last few years and then try and blame them for everything going bad. Maybe if they would just worry about politics and leave business to the businessmen and women. The govt. seems to screw up everything it touches.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  79. Dave, Vancouver, Canada

    Blaming Washington for the AIG bonus scandal is like blaming the police for bank robberies. Sure, there were clues to AIG's treachery, and it would have been great if they had been detected by hardworking, overworked administration officials. In hindsight there are always clues, always people to blame. But, this shameful episode is crystal clear. The pirates at AIG are 100% to blame.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  80. Jennifer, Iron Mountain MI

    Really??? AIG has learned from "the best" when it comes to deceiving American taxpayers and "the best" is Washington. So as for responsiblity? Well, we are responsible for the behavior of our children. AIG has been raised by its parent (Washington) to be a greedy, self-absorbed idiot! But, you know what they say Jack, the ol' apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Kind of true in this situation, don't you think??

    March 18, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  81. Randy

    Is Washington to blame for any of this? You must be kidding. Who are the ones who have been supposed to be watching the till? I continue to say that we just ought to throw all of the government out and start over, put a stipulation in that anyone who has ever served in public office cannot run for public office again, and no one can serve more than 2 terms. After all, the President can't serve more than 2 terms, why should senators or congressmen be able. We certainly couldn't do any worse than where we are currently.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  82. NJOYA

    The congress is to blame for everything going on in this country. Who let the congress become too big to fell? What happen to the democracy by referendum? I am sure those CEO shared the money with those greedy congressmen. Why blaming those who received the bonus? Did the AIG proposed them to cancel the or amende the contract and they refused? stop blaming the messenger .

    NJOYA from NY

    March 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  83. John Mattsen

    How much is Washington to Blame for the AIG mess? Wrong question Jack! We...you and I are to blame for this mess. For years we have been electing politicians into office because they were promising they would reduce taxes and cut the government. WE DID THAT! As a result of our own greed we have gutted federal agencies from the SEC to the Border Patrol, and then we turn around and blame THEM for under performance. Of course, it started with Republican Ronald Regan saying that government is the problem and that unregulated commerce will take care of itself. Regan Republicans need to admit now that they were wrong and take responsibility for their actions!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  84. Lance, West Hartford,CT

    Congress is totally responsible! Their 'undersight' is overwhelming. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd (my senator) should resign. and as they leave, take Pelosi and Reid with them. This is a moral and economical outrage. If they continue on this tenuous slippery slide we're done for! God help my children, they'll be paying for this morass forever! I wish someone would get a grip in Washington and say ENOUGH!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  85. Robin

    Jack,

    I agree there should be some outrage over the $165 million bonus. It illustrates that these big wall street conglomerates just don't get it. However, I wouldn't hyperventilate. This bonus compared to the $3.6 billion dollars given to executives at Merrill Lynch by Bank of America is a taxpayers bargain. This is a distraction. We need to follow the billions of dollars these companies are distributing to God know's who in the name of the American Taxpayer and saving our economy. I blame the former Bush Administration and Congress for this latest economic IED. There will be more.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  86. Charley

    Yes, Washington (both parties) are responsible. I hope they notice the tea parties being held in the U.S. before our government collapses.
    Maybe it is time to clean out Washington with a new political party that represents the people of the U.S.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  87. Tim Omaggio

    Jack,
    There are a lot of balls in the air and things are moving fast. Don't you think you should acknowledge that the Obama Administration has been in place all of 8 weeks? This economic collapse has been in the works for 25 years, beginning with Ronald Reagan's failed "trickle down" economic policies. It came to a head during the last eight years of the See No Evil, Hear No Evil Bush Administration.Mistakes are going to be made, but at least we have a President who is fully engaged and is willing to tackle the broad range of problems he's been handed. Your outrage is misplaced.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  88. Grant

    There should be blame put on the government, and we as the American people. We have elected these people to represent us and act on our behalf, but it seems that this situation has gone from bad to worse to worst. Our government needs to be run like an efficient business, not like a power-hungry zoo. Also, if the government wants to get enraged over these bonuses, why did they get a raise? Something is rotten in the U.S. government Jack, and it's called power.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  89. Mike

    Washington is an equal partner in the AIG bonus debacle. But the voters are 100% responsible for voting these fools back into office term after term.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  90. Steve Veenstra

    Make up your mind guys and gals! You wanted no government and total free enterprize. Now that free enterprize totally failed under this Bush fiasco, you want to start blaming the government? So, you do want government intervention. Isn't that called Socialism? May that wouldn't be a bad idea after all!!! Or don't you want that either??

    Steve

    March 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  91. Steve from Tx

    Jack,

    Of course the gov is to blame. Administrations and congress perons have had their right hands out to the corporate section while their left hands have been in our pockets. Watching the congressmen belittle the AIG CEO was for the cameras. I'm sure he was given some headsup before he sat down today.

    The only thing that has changed during my 52 years is that 24 hour news developed. It might take several generations but real change will come !

    March 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  92. Hiwatha

    well, I am leaning toward blaming Franks and the 9 others. So far 6 have denid knowing the clause in the contract but they signed off.
    Someone is lying –
    Perhaps those 10 should pay the $160M out of pocket and next time they will read something before signing!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  93. ray brooklyn

    jack washington is 100% for ALL our financial troubles.they allowed employers to ship all our industries overseas for cheap labor,they allowed lobbyist to write the banking laws,and they allowed corporations
    to merge beyond all reason , now we hear that these crooks are to big to fail.if this were a james bond movie, SPECTRE would be congress and wall st
    007 where are you when the world really needs you.it's now or never

    March 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  94. Francine

    Jack,

    Why aren't more people outraged at our Congress? We're in a deep recession yet earmarks are approved, Congress goes on a spa weekend after the stimulus bill is passed and Nancy Pelosi is galavanting to Italy to meet with the Pope. Maybe AIG is just following the example our of leaders – me first, the American people later.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  95. Ray Tokareff

    Washington is the problem! They are 100% guilty! The best way to control these creeps is to control the money! You do that by passing a law that ONLY registered voters can give money PERIOD!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  96. John

    Everyone keeps complaining about the AIG bonus fiasco and it seems they are starting to blame poor ol' Timmy Geithner for not knowing and stopping it.

    But in his defense how could he possibly have known about all the intricacies of such a complex situation given he couldn't even figure out his own tax issues!

    Perhaps the White House staff spent too much time bashing Rush Limbaugh instead of looking into the deal they had with AIG!!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  97. Don H.

    Jack,
    Congress is at least 50% responsible for the AIG Bonus mess. When you have a "den of thieves" providing funds to brother "thieves" ( AIG )
    the U.S. voter and taxpayer always gets the short end of the shaft.
    Term limits and a prohibition against professional lobby's and lobby contributions is necessary, but unlikely. Remember, Congress makes the rules, and "thieves will always side with "thieves".

    March 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  98. Neil Staff

    JACK,

    It's one thing to go after AIG and to be upset about the bonuses and all that, but since he's the one who caused all of this mess in the first place why hasn't Barney Frank been arrested and thrown into jail?

    It was his near single-handed pressure on the Clinton Administration and his bills in the legislature of your country that created the sub prime mortgage system and subsequent collapse wasn't it? And this has lead to the AIG failure and the near collapse of the American economy didn't it?

    Isn't this treason? Isn't this criminality of the highest order?

    Seriously, why has Barney Frank not been arrested yet?

    Regards,
    NEIL STAFF

    Whitby, Ontario
    Canada

    March 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  99. Maurice - Two Rivers, WI

    Washington is 150% responsible for this mess. Once again they have proven their ineptness of legislating a solution to anything they know about in advance. The just keep taking lobbyist money and kicking the can down the road and hope they don't get caught. I watched way too much of the hearings today and I must give Washington an A for picking on someone else. Their strategy is to make the American public think they are doing their job and all things are caused by other people/companies outside Washington. The American public knows what crooks we have in Washington and it will show up at election time. Never re-elect anyone.

    Maurice
    Two Rivers, Wisconsin

    March 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  100. Tony

    Why wouldn't Washington be to blame? Washington decided to agree to bail out this company so Washington should take full responsibility. To give out that type of money without implementing better oversight is ridiculous. It isn't like they borrowed $10 dollars. This is millions of dollars that we are talking about.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  101. Edward Rossi

    100 %

    March 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  102. Lorraine from New York City

    Jack, Washington is mostly to blame for the AIG bonus scandal, but that is only a small part of the entire problem. Remember, Bush was AWOL during his last year in office, especially the latter half. His cronies were responsible for the problematic deregulation. He offered NO leadership. Does anybody remember Paulsen....he should be recalled to these hearings to give complete testimony. Truthful and complete. Without him, the truth will never be known.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  103. Sharon

    Congress bears as much or more blame than AIG. They are the ones who wrote or didn't write the rules governing the bail out money.

    It's time to name names – name every Congressman – Senator and House Member who took donations from AIG along with the amounts they took. Then, make every one of them (Senators and House Members) write a personal check to the US Treasury in the amount of that donation to pay back the American Taxpayer for all the paid out bonuses and ill-spent money. Make Congress as accountable as AIG.

    Sharon
    Helena, Montana

    March 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  104. Nancy from Pittsburgh

    Jack. Don't blame Washington. Enough of the witch-hunt hearings about the AIG Bonuses. Liddy wasn't even there then, so why subject him to such a tongue-lashing? Most of the time, all the questioners want to do is "beat their chests" and show their constituents how hard they are working.
    SOLUTION: Just ADD the amount of the bonuses paid by AIG to its DEBT to the government. Then make some "no-more-bonuses" rule until everything gets back to normal and the debt is paid off .
    ---And then get back to work doing something constructive!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  105. jane from Florida

    100%!!! It is ridiculous for anyone to think that they did not know about these bonuses until last week. Let me guess, they will start calling this "old business" soon. Do they take us for a bunch of fools??? This administration is NO MORE transparent than any other. It is just more of the same from Washington, just point your finger at someone else and blame them. Why are we grilling the CEO's on camera during sworn testimony? We should be doing it to our own congressmen!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  106. Brian Eubanks, Weaverville, NC

    Jack, Washington shares A LOT of blame for this mess. But, we shouldn't criticize the intellectually impaired. Instead, the money-grubbing scum at AIG knew exactly what was happening and chose to take the low road. No one had the integrity to stand up and say, "This is wrong!"

    The behavior on both sides reminds me of a line in the old Steve Miller song: "Take the money and run"!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  107. Ray, Crystal Lake, Il

    It's not so much who is to blame here...but who is actually going to take responsibility for their actions.

    Of course, our politicians think it's perfectly alright for them to lie to the American people, but then they try to hold a company like AIG responsible for their (the goverments) incompetency when in fact Congress & the Administration allowed this to even happen in the first place.

    It would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic watching the likes of Dodd & Frank & Geithner trying to put the responsibility for what they did onto someone else. Is anyone really surprised our politicians would behave in this fashion?? Not me!!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  108. Ronnie

    Absolutely, the politicians are getting paid too. We have to get the long-tenured Congressmen removed from office NOW. The system has been manipulated by the same greedy bastards for way too long. Its time for real Americans to begin holding the offices of Congress again. Hell, I would love to get paid over 150K a year and get free healthcare for life like they do. It would be interesting to see whose spouse might be on these companies payrolls as lobbyists and consultants.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  109. Carol, San Ramon, CA

    Yes, Washington is to blame for the AIG bonus scandal. The people testifying should be members of Congress who allowed this to happen by handing out taxpayer money to their friends and seeming to be unaware how the money is spent. I've never actually heard specific reasons why AIG had to be bailed out. These giant insurance companies have had huge profits in the past because they are too big.and don't give people who need their services a choice. Let them go out with bankruptcy and allow competition to give taxpayers a chance to get a better deal.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  110. Joshua from Indiana

    Washington has been blamed for enough. They can no longer be the scapegoat which we turn to when something goes wrong. This entire thing is AIG's fault. They decide to spend money that was given to them so that they could outlast the hardships. They are taking advantage of the government and the people of America. They need to be punished like the little children they are.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  111. Dennis from Danbury, Iowa

    The Gov. is as much to blame as anyone. Mr. Liddy answered every question to what I believe would be to the best of his VERY CAPABLE ability, and gave logical, honest answers. This was a SHAMELESS display of Grandstanding by nearly all involved. After the first 20 Min. they basically just beat him like a rented Mule. He deserves much more respect than that. The way I see it is that the people involved in the bonus were only a part of another slice of the pie-having basically no involvement with the problem-only in the cure.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  112. Annie, Atlanta

    100%. I have this feeling of dread that our representation is clueless; that this is just a game to win or lose for them, instead of a country at stake based on what they do?

    March 18, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  113. Gerry In Toronto

    It's hilarious that all the repubs are trying to set blame for the AIG situation on Obmama and Geitners doorstep, when 160 billion dollars was already sent to them by Paulson, including 85 billion with no agreement whatsoever and no congressional oversight.

    If anyone's to blame for the lack of oversignt, It's Paulson.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  114. Bob

    Jack:

    Someone is going to have to explain to me why 165 million draws irate attention from Congress as well as many everyday Americans, but no one seems to care that in the last spending bill Congress inserted many billions of dollars of pork. I guess we're not supposed to notice that. People need to get their heads out of their ___ and get their priorities straight. What AIG did was wrong, but compared to Congress they are angels.

    Bob
    Westampton, NJ

    March 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  115. jim dodd

    Part of the problem is the senators and congress that have been around to long and have way to much power. The big company's give big to them and they in return bend to their ways. I think that if all these lawmakers were limited to 2 4 year terms like the president that this we would have a better government. How to get this done is another thing that only the people can do.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  116. Marlene

    100 percent!!!!!! They could have prevented this but didn't. WHY???
    We the tax payers deserve to know the names of ALL those who allowed this to happen and the whole story as to why they did this.
    Marlene

    March 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  117. Shake

    Hi Jack
    This AIG mess is just , from my perspective , the story of Alice in the Wonderland, I think the taxpayers are in the shoes of Humpty dumpty.
    Surrealistic!
    What Congress was doing when passing the stimilus bill?
    You need to know what a contract is about before crafting a deadly clause for millions of dollars. Are there any lawyer in the Hill? Lord!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  118. Kay

    Of course they are responsible. Did any of them ask what AIG was going to do with the money once it was received. Did ANYONE from the House or Senate ask to see a financial document that would show how the money was going to be disbursed. NO, they just took my money and your money and gave it away while this country failing our children who are the future of this country.

    They are irresponsible and were just worried about paying the people back who funded their campaigns. Among those who received money is President Obama who received $100,000 from AIG.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  119. Barb McCreary

    Washington is to blame, period. Our lawmakers were lobbied. Our lawmakers received contributions for their campaigns from the lobbyists. Hmmmm....can you say de-regulation?

    March 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  120. Terry from Illinois

    I blame the Republican policies of the past 8 years which has created the corporate mentality that companies can do whatever they want to make money.
    Democrats have at least brought up all of the things that companies are over the top with...
    Keep giving them hell !!!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  121. Peter Olsen

    Washington insiders have lots of blame for the AIG bonus scandal, but only because we let them. AIG can buy our Congress only because the Congress has already bought us with programs, benefits, and tax breaks they know - and we know - can't be sustained. We elect them precisely because they are such good liars. As for us, who cares if the Tooth Fairy is a crook, just as long as we keep finding money under our pillows?

    March 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  122. Nancy, Grand Ledge,MI

    Washington is 100% responsible. Oversight and regulation are their responsibility. The deregulation that has been happening since the Reagan Administration is what caused this mess in the first place. John McCain was running on the promise of less regulation just last summer. I haven't heard him say much about that since the crisis began in September. Removing protections that have been in place since FDR was also a big mistake. The greatest culprit is former Senator Phil Graham, but all carry some of the guilt. What a bunch of incompetents! President Obama is the only one with enough guts to take responsibility, and he was probably the least guilty!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  123. Deep Jackson

    Why DUH, Washington is to blame...Kids only get away with what their parents let them get away with, and in this instance Washington was supposed to be the parents and they let their kids (AIG) run rampid causing everyone in the neighborhood to question their parenting skills...That's why I'm an independent cause politicians are sleezier than lawyers are!!!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  124. John from Lancaster, PA

    How much is Washington to blame? Is the sky blue? Is water wet? There is plenty of blame to go around, but the crooks in Washington deserve their share. By the way, can't you just see Bush and Cheyney guffawing up their sleeves right now?

    March 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  125. Gabe

    Do you honestly believe Senators Dodd and President Obama were not aware of the contractual loophole embedded in the legislation? Perhaps now the Americans will realize Obama and the Democrats are no different. Washington is still Washington. And is it is full of corrupt politicians, quick to point the finger of blame. Where's the "transparency" This is doesn't sound like "change we can believe in"...

    March 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  126. Peter Olsen

    Washington insiders have lots of blame for the AIG bonus scandal, but only because we let them. AIG can buy our Congress only because the Congress has already bought us with programs, benefits, and tax breaks they know - and we know - can't be sustained. We elect them precisely because they are such good liars. As for us, who cares if the Tooth Fairy is a crook, just as long as we keep finding money under our pillows?

    Columbia, MD

    March 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  127. Al

    How much is Washington to blame for the AIG bonus scandal? The formula is simple...multiply the number of Congressional and Senate seats by 100% and that's the answer to the question. I will admit that not all Congressmen and Sentors are bad...some of them are dead.

    Al (Newport News VA)

    March 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  128. Q charlotte

    Yes, congress is to blame for aig retention bonus. There is so much finger pointing at each other in congress, that there is no good legislation going on and we the american taxpayers are losing$$$.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  129. Annette of Colorado

    How much is Washington to blame for the AIG bonus mess? Well, Jack, when the Board of Directors fail to perform their fiduciary duty to the shareowners; when the CEO and department heads fail to perform their jobs effectively and efficiently, and when their decisions are driven by greed rather than good common business sense; when the media fails to report issues in an accurate and timely manner; then I suppose the blame does rest with Washington and it is time to become a Socialist nation.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  130. Larry

    Costa Mesa, California
    Our Government is 100% responsible for the AIG Bonus scandal. Someone wrote in our Goverment, wrote in the exception, that allowed AIG executives to receive $165 million dollasr in retention pay bonuses. Maybe it was space gremlins.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  131. Greg from Fl

    Jack,
    It's ridiculous to think that the same people that get money from these company's like AIG will police them. Until we get congressmen and women in office that care about the people instead of looking out for themselves we will continue to see this happen over and over again.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  132. steve Miller

    Absolutely. Big business and Washington have been been "in bed" with each other for years and this bailout is evidence of their union.

    And speaking of bailouts, whatever happened to the business philosophy of "survival of the fittest." If AIG was having so many problems, let them deal with it like small businesses do; by reducing staff, CEO's taking less in salary (which will have them scale back in their luxury lifestyles), selling off or breaking up the business, and reinvesting in core business values.

    When one company fails, another will take its place. And for the employees.....if the government did anything, it would be to help displaced AIG employees find work at other insurers.

    It is beyond disgusting, faith in our government and corporations are dying......."we the people" will never FORGET how big business and the government has funded these criminals at the expense of those who cant afford it.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  133. RSB - St. George, UT

    Bush is responsible. He was "The Decider" who signed the final bill.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  134. Kirk

    Washington is absolutely 100% to blame, but they can still correct it. AIG's position that these retention bonuses are "contractual obligations" is almost laughable, especially since the UAW's national contract is being butchered as we speak! Such bonuses are not uncommon, but are generally reserved for approval by a bankruptcy court, and since AIG declined this option, legal protection to prevent the return of these bonuses does NOT exist.

    Kirk
    Angola, NY

    March 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  135. Alice from Fairfax VA

    Absolutely!!!!! They gave out the money and they are responsible for the oversight. This is the first major blow to Obama administration. I strongly caution our president to be careful and he must correct this mistake. If not, he will lose a lot of support.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  136. Lee - Charlotte, NC

    Hi Jack,

    I have worked in corporate america for over 35 years. I am one of the lowest of the low. The congress is not to blame. These practices are common in corporate america. Retention bonuses and all the other golden parachutes that these dirty rotten thieves have been able to get away with. People need to lay blame where the blame lies and it is not with President Obama. The blame lies with these greedy executives on Wall Street. They give the lowest of the low the most meager bonuses and keep the rest of it to stuff in their lying, cheating pockets. ENOUGH!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  137. Ronald L. Drum

    Jack,
    The Democratic controlled majority removed the restrictions on executive compensation that were already part of the bill in a closed door meeting. Guess what a campaign contribution buys you in todays market ? The congress and the majority are directly to blame. All AIG did was drive the train down the track that congress laid out for them so conviently. President O'Bama and his Secretary of the Treasury are equally to blame for Letting the Trio of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Chris Dodd get away with this kind of arrogance. Dodd didn't know that the restrictions had been removed from the bill, even after Olympia Snow let it be known publicly, Give us a break, the voters aren't that dumb.

    West Union, IL. 62477

    March 18, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  138. Oregon Wally Las Vegas Nevada

    there both rats, wall street overpays its self and the congressman and senators except money under the table to go along. find out witch government official aloud the wording for the bonuses at a.i .g. and you'll find the rat.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  139. Bill

    More BS from this bogus, self-serving socilistic machine currently running our great nation into the ground.

    The kicker was Barney Frank, screaming rat.

    Is it any wonder that Dodd and Obama were 1-2 on the donation list from AIG?

    March 18, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  140. UrbanCntrySoul of Nashville, TN

    I completely agree with Kate from Nashville and... it is the fault of Washington D.C. 1st deregulation , 2nd no over site , 3rd the three some... corporations , lobbyist and campaign reform.
    I think its time referendum.... am s-i-c-k and tired of it of the corruption and callus arrogance.
    Our government has failed in every way....and they still refuse to do anything...

    March 18, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  141. Karen - Tennessee

    I'm sick of everyone blaming Washington for everything, then in the next breath saying they don't want Big Government. AIG management is infested with idiots, once again proving that the scum rises to the top along with the cream.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  142. Michael

    Jack,
    Yes Congress is responsible for this mess!
    Take a look at the clip of Senator Dodd denying that he had anything to do with the exclusion clause...He is LYING! Watch his body language. He closes his eyes and looks away when he answers. Interesting that he received a hefty campaign contribution from AIG! I don't think that Mr. Liddy deserves to be grilled like a common criminal and accused of things he had nothing to do with. Give him a break, I think he is trying to do the right thing!....... Michael Atlanta

    March 18, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  143. Dan

    Washington is completely responsible for the AIG embarrasment. You know the saying – fool me once.... Well, it's pretty much a fact now. Just give them all name plates that say "I'm a fool".

    March 18, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  144. Frank- From Indiana

    Hey Jack,
    Sure Washington is to blame for what going on at AIG.
    If God could stand on the same podium where President Obama took the oath of office, and ask for Senators and Congreesmen who have sinned come forward. The Washington mall would filled.
    SHAME SHAME SHAME

    March 18, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  145. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I blame the Treasury Department for printing more money for Washington to give away to AIG that resulted in funds available to pay out bonuses.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  146. A.G.Herrera

    If anyone in congress actually did the work they were elected to do we wouldn't be in this situation now. They are all asleep at the wheel. And wake only to attend social functions.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  147. Scott in Arlington, Va

    Jack,
    100% to blame....they allowed the creation of corporations more powerful then the federal government that could take down the entire economy or SO THEY SAY, they failed to regulate, they failed to stay independent, by taking AIG campaign money, they failed to read their own Bills, they are failed to own up to the truth, and every sitting member will fail to get my vote next election.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  148. Rob

    I am surprised you left wing whackos aren't blaming George Bush again...lets see now....when something good happens its Obama the messiah's leadership (with president pelosi)...when something goes bad it's still George Bush's fault, obama the liberal is leading us straight to hell or france – here's hoping the left wing dems lead the way

    March 18, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  149. Terry from Montana

    Apparently, someone in Washington was responsible for the Feb. 2009 cut off which will likely allow the bonuses to go forward. It will be interesting when - or if– we learn who it was. It's unlikely that anyone will actually own up to it. The cutoff was inserted in Sen. Dodd's amendment regarding the bonuses, but he's denied knowledge of it. Another great mystery from the bowels of government.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  150. Lee in MN

    We will never solve any problems in Washington until we can stop the extreme left and right politicians that make Washington dysfunctional. Wolf just had a prime example of it on his program.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  151. Roy

    I think that there should have been some very tough checks and balances when giving that much money to someone who does not deserve it. I just don't understand how in the hell something like this happens in light of how angry the American citizen is towards polititans and large Corporations today. I guess the ONLY way to correct the problem is to weed out the bad apples who only want to give lip service but nothing of any constructive substance. In short both sides to this problem contributed to this fiasco.

    Roy
    Olympia, Wa.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  152. Al Perrin

    Chris Dodd — who currently serves as Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee – proposed the executive compensation provision and now insists that he did not include that exemption clause. He says he doesn’t know how it got there; The chairman of a committee doesn't even know what is going on in his own committee. Ludicrous!

    I think their should be an investigation of the Senate Banking Committee to find out exactly who added the exemption clause. Any committee who's chairman doesn't know what's going on SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  153. Sue -Idaho

    Jack, someone in D.C. is certainly to blame, there was a small clause put into the legislation back in April or June, sometime around there, and it said the A.I.G. guys get to keep their bonusus, find out who did it and we will all know. Should Geitner and President Obama have known, Yes, however, when a small three line clause is stuck into a bill that's thousands of pages it's no wonder stuff gets passed and nobody knows who did it. I say any changes to a piece of legislation must be brought before the public and notated on the document's front page, any deletions or additions, that would certainly end a whole bunch of problems.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  154. Patty North Carolina

    Congress has taken campaign money from AIG, including our former President Bush. Lobbyists for AIG were in those committee meetings that wrote the terms for the taxpayer funded bailouts. Why were AIG lobbyists allowed to be anywhere near the capital. Yes, our government is guilty as sin and there's collusion between AIG and Congress. The GOP fought against putting caps on executive pay for the first TARP money and now their posturing and pretending they're outraged. Give me a break. And my Democrats, let the AIG fellas write their own ticket. Dodd has alot of explaining to do. Geithner and Summers haven't shown any credible oversight of billions of dollars given to these unscruplous bankers.It's almost like the story of billions being tossed off the back of trucks in Iraq with no one to say this was wrong and stop it! The American taxpayer have a new view and it's, YOUR FIRED!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  155. John from Austin

    We're all to blame! Every man, woman, and child in this country! We all buy low and sell high to get what we want. We're all looking for a steal and a sucker to sell it to us or buy it from us. We're the Joneses we're trying to keep up with.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  156. Ben from Boston

    Two Things:

    1. The government owns the controlling share in AIG and basically picked Mr. Liddy to head it. Of course they are to blame.

    2. The big outrage is not the bonuses, its that more than $100 billion of US government dollars have passed through AIG to foreign banks and financial institutions whose central banks have explicitly refused to bail out. This is the biggest stink of all! What kind of change is this, Mr. President? Mr. Geithner can you get this money back too? If not, let Hillary have a crack at getting it back for us – she is the only experienced one there.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  157. Jim/NC

    1,000 per cent responsible!!!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  158. Brian

    Why blame Washington, didn't we vote all these liars, I mean politicians into office? We the people are to blame, we made them speed up the bailout, we made them sign it without opening a page, isn't that what they are all saying? I say WE MAKE THEM PAY US BACK, split those trillions into bonuses for the American people, let's have a party! fire the politicians, quit believing their lies, stand up and do something, where have all the hippies gone?

    March 18, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  159. Nick, Kansas City, MO

    Jack,
    I don't blame Washington alone – I think the attitude of 'Thanks for the billions, suckers' has roots in both the political and business world. Still, the AIG bonuses are rather like giving the captain of the Titanic a bonus for making it half-way across the Atlantic!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  160. Gigi

    100% at fault.
    Government and big business are hand in hand. Depending on Mr. & Mrs. John Doe to pay the tax and high interest. One hand washes the other in government and business. We are merely the pawns in their game.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  161. Ben,, Clifton Park, NY

    The Congressional stand up comedians ruined the country. Approved two illegal wars , changed stock market to the organized crime free money casino. In the AIG fraud incorporated style raised own salaries before their family Bermuda Christmas vacation. How are they different from theother white crime felons?

    March 18, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  162. Darr/ Cleveland

    We can't blame Washington. We must blame those within the hallowed halls of Congress who make up Washington. The Senators and Representatives who, without care and due diligence, basically gave AIG a blank check. Was it Bush? Paulson? Who was in control and who was the go to guy? It seems if anyone should take the hit it should be Paulson. The Senators and Representatives will get their due come election time, but for now everyone's dancing the old 'Potomac Two Step' ain't they while our tax dollars go floating away on that river that runs through what is called ' Washington.'

    March 18, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  163. David Hull

    I believe on Feb 12, 2009 that Senator Dobb in one of his endless go nowhere diatribes, said that all previous AIG bonues would have to be honored. You are one of the first commentators that has touched on the fact that these have been known for a long time. Contractually, they need to be paid. Larry Sommers on Sunday, flat out stated a contract is a contract. The issue has focused on "do they deserve them" absolutely not. By law, I believe they are.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  164. Jan - Lancaster, PA

    As guilty as the Company. We all need to know who was in the
    alleged "closed door" sessions that removed the amendment to
    block the bonus payouts. That info is critical as he/she/they are the
    ones who sold out the taxpayers and should not be voted into office the next time around, if impeachment doesn't occur first.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  165. Carolyn in Houston

    Jack,

    Of course Washington is to blame.

    People seemed to have forgotten that it was the Bush Administration that put the brakes on the compensation limits to the executives receiving bailouts. Secretary Paulson was too afraid to offend them.

    While everyone is running around like chickens with their heads chopped off screaming and finger pointing, the evil began with Paulson and Shelby:

    "If we design it so it's punitive and so institutions aren't going to participate, this won't work the way we need it to work," he told Fox News Sunday on September 21.

    Senator Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, told CBS news that: "It should be up to the board of directors of a private corporation to set the compensation of an executive; it shouldn't be Congress's role."

    They left it up to the board of directors and look at what happened.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  166. Dan G from Alliance, OH

    Normal Washington, the left hand has no idea what the right hand is doing.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  167. TheRealMcCoy

    Jack,

    The government is completely to blame, while the news media are going out of their way to pin this on Obama's administration, the bottome line is that last year when Paulsen originally went to Congress to ask for billions of dollars the answer should have been "NO",

    Now the politicians are all outraged about bonuses, where were they gave all these companies trillions of dollars and provided absoulety no oversight.

    I give Obama credit, he's trying, but fighting the clowns in both parties is definitely going to take a toll and as usual the American people will wind up losing.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  168. Curtis Wampler, Udall, KS

    Jack, if there were a number higher than 100% I would give it to you. Congress both had the responsibility and capability to know these bonuses existed in these contracts. Further they had the opportunity to include conditions to prevent bonuses from being paid out even if they didn't know. In other words, it was Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and all of the other Democrats that formed the final bail out provisions.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  169. Steve, Clifton,VA

    50%......
    We just went through the bonus issue a few months back and one would think that the release of additional public funding would have been conditioned on how that money would be spent. I love President Obama but his administration has dropped the ball on this one. Perhaps he should more closely focus on the economy. I am not suggesting the other priorities should be dropped but that they take a lesser priority until the economy is stable....

    March 18, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  170. Arthur

    The democrats who rushed through the stimulus bill are to blame. They are just using AIG as political cover. Every one who voted for this bill should rightly stand up and take the blame. Never mind, their polticians, what was I thinking?

    March 18, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  171. Steve in Alexandria Virginia

    Exactly 78.365%

    March 18, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  172. Jason

    Washington is literally the source of all our problems.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  173. Paulette

    We have vented our outrage over the bonus payments. What we need to do now is ban together to correct the situation and stop trying to place the blame on a certain segment of the government. No one party or administration is blameless. What difference does finding out who knew what when? Work together for a solution! That to me is the sane, American thing to do!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  174. Kate Branch

    Is Washington to blame? well I am sure someone there is at least partly to blame but were we not all at least a little blind because it seemed as if life was going great and who wanted to rock the boat
    Now that boat has sunk and we want to blame anyone and everyone but to me the best thing that has come out of this a president who is not afraid to stand and say "The buck stops here" because you can bet the ones really responsible are not going to accept any blame if they can help it. His mess or not he is the one willing to shoulder the burden and the blame. And I for one say bravo Mr. President you are truly a role model for future politicans.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  175. Karen Obermayer

    Hey Jack,

    100% responsible. The Feds will search through income tax returns like bloodhounds to find a mistake made by the average American taxpayer, but have blinders on and look the other way for corporate America. The bailouts are a joke. Its merely corporate welfare! Three strikes, they're out!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  176. Greg

    Yes the government is to blame. More to the point Rep. (D) Barney Frank, who authored protections for the AIG bonuses in the recently passes stimulus bill. The same Barney Frank who single handedly engineered the housing market crash through his mismanagement of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Democrats need to take ownership of this mess. Untill they do the American people cannot trust them.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  177. Ronald Holst

    Is that sort of like asking IS a parent Is partly responsible for there child
    taking there clothes off on the playground I men somebody has the resonability about setting down the Rules .

    March 18, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  178. CR

    Everyone is quick to blame Washington and not the corporate losers who caused this mess in the first place. Wake Up! Greedy capitalists are THE problem.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  179. Frank- From Indiana

    Hey Jack,
    Sure Washington is to blame for going on at AIG. If God could stand on the same podiun where President OBAMA took the oath of office, and ask for all Senators and Congreesmen who have sinned come forward. The WASHINGTON MALL would be filled.
    SHAME SHAME SHAME!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  180. James - Sun City CA

    Just about as much blame as the rest of us, Jack. We all have our duties as citizens. We, the people, chose the wrong leaders, Our leaders neglected their oversight function. And our business leaders were just too greedy to think about the fact that they were cheating people. You can measure who to blame by who is making the noise. All of us!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  181. JS007

    It is the American people who keep voting for these crooks that are at fault: the public is too ignorant to know that private political contributions need to be capped at $200/yr. or completely eliminated. The insane amounts needed to run campaigns allow crooks to buy government. There is absolutely no reason to pay bonuses to people who were instrumental in collapsing the world economy. Many of them received these "retention" bonuses even after they left AIG!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  182. W

    They wrote the legislation for the stimulus that allowed it to happen so they are to blame. As usual Dodd is right in the middle of the oversight. Who knows he might have gotten another cut rate mortgage out it!!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  183. Tony in IL

    Jack, it seems after all CNN reporting, that congress and the Obama Administration knew about this and is lying to the American taxpayer/voter about when they knew about this. If they don't fix this AIG mess, don't look for Obama second term and congress will look much different after the next election.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  184. Brian Armstrong, San Jose, cA

    Washington, D.C. is entirely to blame! It's yet another example of the incompetence found in the likes of Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, and Tim Geithner. Everyone knew it was there, even Pres. Obama. Maybe it'll get Obama to think twice before ramming another "stimulus" down our throats without anyone reading it. But I doubt it. Obama was elected to change Washington. Instead he's brought more of the same.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  185. Bob R

    If it wasn't for the media attention, congress could have cared less if these execs got the bonus. Now that's it become political, these very same congressional leaders are putting on their capes and saying "For Shame! We'll fix this!".

    Congress has completely failed by serving their own interests yet again. This kind of thing has been going on since before the first Prez. Bush was in office but now that everything is in crisis mode, everyone is trying to point fingers.

    It's about time congress starts making cuts to itself, both in funding and staffing. Let them share the same pain as everyone else.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  186. Lenn/Sedona, AZ

    Jack,

    Everyone is at blame. The Giver ( Government ) – the Receiver ( AIG ).
    The Gullible ( Government ) – The Greedy ( AIG ). Our law makers
    best get their heads OUT of their poop-chutes. ENOUGH is, really,
    ENOUGH. No more bail-outs. I'm broke!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  187. Brian

    To blame Washington or anyone else would make you and I just like them, I say let's start a work program for all of the current politicians and companies that we bailout with CEO's that have outrageous salaries, maybe we should dress them in striped suits, chain them all togethor with ankle shackles and force them to pick up garbage on the side of highways for 40 hours a week, isn't that what we do with thieves that receive community service as a punishment? Just think of how clean our streets would be with all the CEO's and politicians working off the money they have stolen from the citizens of this Country

    March 18, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  188. Sandy in Arkansas

    Washington responsible...those two words should never be in the same sentence!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  189. Melanie in rural IA

    Congress is at fault. They should have listened to the millions of us who called, wrote and emailed not to bail them out.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  190. gail Centre, Al.

    What is going on, do they think we are stupid. The president, who doesn't have a clue, surrounding himself with all the nut jobs in congress, What other results do you expect.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  191. Wade, Phoenix

    It just proves that we have amateurs running congress.
    They sound like my six year old when she gets caught doing something wrong.
    It's always "Not me, I didn't do it."
    Granted she's an only child, so it's harder for her to get away with that statement.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  192. lynne

    Come on Jack! Of course Washington is to blame fior this unconscionable mess evn though they're falling over each other blustering and huffing and puffing. These are suppose to be smart people? So how come they handed over billions and billions and TRUSTED places like AIG to do the right thing and then act shocked to find out that controls were deleted or bargained away. The one's being hauled in front of a panel of citizens are the fools that let it happen. And Geitner and Summers...remember, You can't teach old dogs new tricks like doing what is right with integrity rather than self-interest. I can't WAIT to get to the voting booth!!

    March 18, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  193. Jeff from Huntington Beach, Ca

    Washington is just as much to blame for this as the people who took the bonuses. NOTHING will ever be done about ANY of this. How many Congressmen and Senators (including the current President when was one) took "donations" from AIG and other banks that got part of the bailout funds. The ONLY reason the are having these hearing now is because EVERYONE will be caught with their hand in the cookie jar and when it all unfolds they will spin it and dupe the american public about it all and walk away clean and claim it's the republicans fault and everyone will believe them.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  194. Conor in Chicago

    People need to understand the forces at work here. Let’s say Congress is negotiating with AIG and they make a stink about executive bonuses. AIG comes back and says, “well we are not going to sacrifice our pay for a bailout. We feel that’s our bonuses”. Then Congress says, “well if we let you fail then the whole financial system collapses and we are in serious trouble”. AIG says, “Yeah, we know. Let us keep our bonuses or call in the National Guard ‘cause you are going to need it”.

    AIG holds all of the cards. Why do you think all of the politicians are running for cover and pretending like they weren’t the one to allow the bonuses? This is the truest definition of “Free Market Capitalism” I’ve ever seen. AIG is hold the United States Congress hostage-period.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  195. Joan

    Congress is entirely to blame for the AIG bonus payments. Unfortunately, this is typical of the kind of oversight we have come to expect from our congressional leaders. When you let government attempt to "do business" they inevitably mess everything up royally.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  196. Mike Albuquerque, NM

    No, Washington cannot be expected to micro manage the myriad schemes of AIG. Given the hostile climate against dubious spending of federal TARP money, the executives at AIG should have known better.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  197. Anthony from NC

    Who is to blame? Where do I begin... Washington and Wall Street's behavior is and has been horrific for years but you in the media consistently fail to shed sufficient light on what they're doing. Instead, you folks seem to prefer engaging in the same type of grandstanding, ranting and kicking the can down the road nonsense that you condemn Washington and Wall Street for. Jack, your most recent rant was filled with assertions and compliments for your colleague Ms. Snow and a perfect example of why the people in Washington and Wall Street are rarely, if ever exposed. Assertions are not facts, rants minus honest, accurate context is nonsense, surely you folks are capable of better.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  198. willard schoeffling

    the president and senator dodd might as well have signed the checks

    March 18, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  199. Jimmy Works

    You are right. The reason Dodd, Frank & Co. are screaming so loud is because they are the ones that allowed the bonuses. Its coverup time in the sandbox, and they know it. They were hoping you media guys wouldn't report this. Washington is the cause of all of these problems from the beginning, with most of the blame on Dodd and Frank. What losers.

    March 18, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  200. Ken Sanders, Vancouver, Canada

    How much, you ask, Jack ?? ALL of the blame. While we are at it here .. this SUCKS BIG TIME .. It is wailed about the Pres. .. " Where will all the new Bailout / Stimulus money come from ?? ". Apparently this accountability does not apply to the FED which is just now saying " Hmm .. I guess we'll just PRINT new billions and buy some T Bills to lend money to the suckers ". Who gave the FED that authority in the first place ? This whole thing is heading down for a CRASH. Just watch.

    March 18, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  201. Kenneth Kohlmann

    Democrats in Congress knew the problem was coming. They lied about the dire straits of the economy and played dumb (i.e. Barney Franks) and now Geithner knew about bonuses and told no one. Impeachment and firings should be the order of the day.

    March 18, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  202. Vicki

    Jack,

    AIG is to blame for AIG's scandal!

    March 18, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  203. Jobless

    Sorry people I'm confused, why is everybody is blaming AIG. Hell, if someone gave me a million bucks your damn right I'll take it. The blame goes solely to our beloved congress that signed the bill and gave AIG the money.

    March 18, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  204. Michael Newman

    The US Congress led by Phil Graham, former Senator from Texas, gave the keys to the vault to AIG and other financial institutions. I hope that some investigative reporter filnds out how much AIG, UBS, CitiBank, Wachovia Bank etc "contributed" to the election campaigns of member of the Senate and House. I bet they will discover that a majority of Congress sold their votes to them.

    March 18, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  205. Tim in Minnesota

    Oh, us Americans. We just HAVE to have someone to blame – for everything and anything. Sore losers blame Obama, winners blame Bush, almost everyone blames Congress. I mean, what did we think? Rich business leaders would be honest and forthright in their business decisions, trying to look out for the rest of us folk?
    I can't help but think of those old Frankenstein movies, where the whole town, armed with pitchforks, torches, clubs and swords marching after the killer monster screaming bloody murder! So true today.
    Stop blaming people and start getting active with your government representatives! Things won't change much if we count on our business and government leaders to just take care of it.

    March 18, 2009 at 5:02 pm |